Registering as a Sex Offender
In California, people convicted of a sex crime, such as sexual assault, are required to register as sex offenders with authorities in their city. This is an annual requirement that serves the purpose of providing law enforcement with the necessary information to locate known sex offenders in the event of a sex offense, as well as to inform the public of their presence in their neighborhood.
For many individuals who have been convicted of a sex crime, the requirement to register can be burdensome, and they may face social stigma and even danger as a result. However, failure to register as a sex offender is a criminal offense that can result in serious consequences, including imprisonment.
If you are facing allegations of failing to register as a sex offender, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney like William Kroger. Contact the Law Offices of William Kroger at (323) 655-5700 to learn more and to see how we can help you.What is Megan’s Law and How Does it Work?
Megan's Law was enacted in California in 1996, after the tragic death of seven-year-old Megan Kanka. The law requires local law enforcement agencies to make certain information about registered sex offenders available to the public, including their names, addresses, and physical descriptions.
This information is intended to help protect communities from potential danger and allow parents to make informed decisions about their children's safety. Megan's Law also established a statewide registry of sex offenders, which is maintained by the California Department of Justice.
Each state has its own version of Megan's Law, but the information provided is generally the same. Authorities collect the offender's name, address, picture, and the details of their crime, and make it available to the public through the state's Megan's Law website.
This information is available to families looking to move into a new area, or for anyone who wants to know if there is a convicted sex offender living nearby. Being able to see which areas contain offenders who have been charged with a sex crime against a child can be a deciding factor for families with children.
In California, Megan's Law goes a step further, providing information on registered sex offenders. This includes the offender's picture, name, known aliases, physical description, and a description of their crime and the year of their last conviction. It also includes the score for their risk assessment, indicating the likelihood of them committing a new crime, and any scars, identifying marks, or tattoos they may possess.
A California sex offender must register with local law enforcement once a year or whenever they move. This helps to keep the authorities up to date with the latest information on known sex offenders, as well as provide the public with a resource on where sex offenders live. Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime and may result in severe legal consequences.
If you or a loved one is facing charges related to a sex crime or sex offender registration, it's advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer who understands the complexities of Los Angeles sex offender registration laws.Failure to Register as a Sex Offender What Happens If a Convicted Sex Offender Does Not Register?
It is a crime under California's sex offender registration law to fail to register with local authorities. Failure to register as a sex offender is a serious offense in California that can result in harsh penalties. Penal Code 290 mandates that individuals convicted of certain sex crimes register as sex offenders with local law enforcement agencies within a specified period of time. If you fail to register or update your registration, you can face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the severity of the original offense.
If the original offense was a misdemeanor, failure to register is also a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If the original offense was a felony, failure to register is a felony punishable by up to three years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
To prosecute a failure to register charge, the prosecution must prove that you were convicted of a sex crime requiring registration, that you knew about the registration requirement, and that you willfully failed to register or update your registration. If convicted, you may also face additional consequences, such as a violation of probation or parole.
It's important to note that failure to register as a sex offender can have lasting consequences that can affect your freedom, future employment, and reputation. If you're facing charges related to sex offender registration requirements, it's critical to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights and interests.What is Three-Tier Registration?
California Senate Bill 384, also known as the Tiered Registry Law, reformed the three-tier registration system in California for sex offenders. Under the new law, which took effect in 2021,
- Tier 1 offenders must register for ten years
- Tier 2 offenders must register for 20 years, and
- Tier 3 offenders must register for life
The registration requirements for each tier vary, with Tier 3 offenders subject to more stringent requirements in addition to lifetime registration, such as in-person verification with law enforcement every year. The Tiered Registry Law also allows certain sex offenders to petition for removal from the registry after a specified period of time if they have demonstrated that they are not a risk to public safety.
The changes brought about by SB 384 are complex and can be difficult to navigate, so it's important to seek guidance from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.Legal Defenses to the Charge of Failure to Register
There are several legal defenses that a person charged with failure to register as a sex offender can raise. The following are some examples of common defenses:
- Lack of Knowledge: If the defendant did not know that they were required to register as a sex offender, they may have a defense to a charge of failure to register.
- No Willful Failure: A defendant may argue that they did not willfully fail to register or update their registration, for example, if they were incarcerated or hospitalized at the time they were required to register.
- Unlawful Search or Seizure: If law enforcement obtained information about the defendant's failure to register as a sex offender through an illegal search or seizure, the evidence may be suppressed, which can result in the charges being dismissed.
- Mistake of Fact: A defendant may argue that they made a mistake of fact regarding their registration requirements, for example, if they believed that they were no longer required to register.
- Improper Notification: A defendant may argue that they did not receive proper notification of their registration requirements, which could be due to a mistake made by the law enforcement agency responsible for notifying them.
It's important to note that the specific legal defenses available in a particular case will depend on the facts and circumstances of that case. If you are facing a charge of failure to register as a sex offender in California, it's essential to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and help you develop a defense strategy.Will An Expungement Under PC 1203.4 Allow Me to Not Register?
An expungement under Penal Code section 1203.4 does not automatically relieve a person from the obligation to register as a sex offender in California. Expungement under PC 1203.4 is a legal process that allows a person who was convicted of a crime to have the conviction dismissed, provided they have completed all of the terms of their probation or sentence, and have not committed any additional crimes.
An expungement can provide certain benefits, such as making it easier to find employment, but it does not relieve a person of their obligation to register as a sex offender.
Under California law, a person who is convicted of certain sex crimes must register as a sex offender for a specified period, which can range from 10 years to life, depending on the severity of the offense. Even if the person has their conviction expunged under PC 1203.4, they must still register as a sex offender if they are required to do so under California law.
It's important to note that expungement is not a substitute for a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a Governor's Pardon, which are the only legal mechanisms that can relieve a person of their obligation to register as a sex offender in California. However, obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a Governor's Pardon is a challenging and lengthy process that typically requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.Do I Need an Attorney?
It is highly recommended that sex offenders who have failed to register or will be required to register to seek the guidance of an experienced sex offender registry attorney. The registration requirements for sex offenders can be complex, and a failure to register or comply with the requirements can result in serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and even more severe penalties.
If someone has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender, an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide valuable assistance in several ways:
- Developing a Defense Strategy. An attorney can help the defendant develop a defense strategy tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of their case. As mentioned earlier, there are several legal defenses available to a person charged with failure to register, and an attorney can evaluate the facts of the case and determine the best defense strategy.
- Protecting the Defendant's Rights. An attorney can work to protect the defendant's constitutional rights, including the right to a fair trial, the right to remain silent, and the right to due process. They can also ensure that any evidence obtained by law enforcement was obtained lawfully and that the defendant's rights were not violated during the investigation or arrest.
- Negotiating a Plea Agreement. In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution that results in a reduced charge or a lighter sentence.
- Representing the Defendant in Court. An attorney can represent the defendant in court, presenting evidence and arguments on their behalf and advocating for their interests.
- Helping the Defendant Comply with Registration Requirements. If the defendant is convicted of failure to register, an attorney can help them comply with the registration requirements to avoid further legal trouble.
An attorney who is experienced in sex offender registration law can provide valuable guidance on the registration process, help ensure that you are complying with all the requirements, and work to protect your rights if you are facing charges for failing to register or for any other sex crime.
A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can also help you understand the specific registration requirements for your particular case, including which tier you fall under and the length of time you must register.
It's important to note that sex offender registration requirements can vary widely depending on the specific offense, so seeking the advice of an attorney who is familiar with the registration requirements in California is crucial.Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
With new California sex offender registration laws, navigating the registration process can be confusing, and dealing with charges for failing to register can be even more stressful. At William Kroger Attorney at Law, we are committed to providing experienced and compassionate representation to individuals facing sex offender registration requirements and related legal challenges.
We understand that every case is unique, and we take the time to listen to your story, and how registration has affected your life. We will assess your situation, and craft a tailored defense strategy to protect your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome.
If you or a loved one has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Los Angeles, don't wait to get the help you need. Contact our office today at (323) 655-5700 or online to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys.